Sunday, 1 March 2015

Porta Fidei? The Role and Future of Catholic Schools

Image courtesy of ME!

“Door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is the name Pope Benedict XVI gave to his apostolic letter which began the Year of Faith. This ran from 11 October 2012 until 24 November 2013 and was a key part of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, yet also saw the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis.

"Gravissimum educationis", published as part of the Second Vatican Council is worth revisiting on a regular basis by all involved in Catholic education [read it <here>], but was one of the key documents that many revisited during the Year of Faith. This extract should be a clear reminder of the purpose of Catholic schools:

Among all educational instruments the school has a special importance. It is designed not only to develop with special care the intellectual faculties but also to form the ability to judge rightly, to hand on the cultural legacy of previous generations, to foster a sense of values, to prepare for professional life. Between pupils of different talents and backgrounds it promotes friendly relations and fosters a spirit of mutual understanding; and it establishes as it were a center whose work and progress must be shared together by families, teachers, associations of various types that foster cultural, civic, and religious life, as well as by civil society and the entire human community.

Beautiful indeed and of great importance is the vocation of all those who aid parents in fulfilling their duties and who, as representatives of the human community, undertake the task of education in schools. This vocation demands special qualities of mind and heart, very careful preparation, and continuing readiness to renew and to adapt.

So 50 years on, how do we renew and adapt?

Several months ago, I spoke to Michael Merrick about the possibility of getting together some good Catholic thinkers on the future of Catholic education in this country and the vision has now become a reality. 

Read Michael's blog post <here>

Porta Fidei? The Role and Future of Catholic Schools 
Saturday, 27 June 2015 from 10:00 to 17:00 (BST)


This is an academic conference seeking to explore the ambitions, obligations, challenges and obstacles facing faith schools in the United Kingdom. It shall consist of two keynote papers and four seminar sessions, seeking to generate honest discussion and debate in an atmosphere of collegiality and friendship.

We have a variety of speakers - from academia and school leaders, to teachers to public policy experts - presenting papers on themes as diverse as the formation of Catholic teachers, the challenge of secular liberalism to faith schooling, the 'Catholic curriculum', and the challenge of teaching RE in a post-Christian, pluralist society. 

The event is organised in association with the Diocese of Lancaster Education Service.

Current speakers include:
  • Bishop Michael Campbell (Diocese of Lancaster)
  • Professor Robert Davis (University of Glasgow)
  • Professor James Arthur (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr. Ros Stuart-Buttle (Liverpool Hope University)
  • Dr. Adrian Pabst (University of Kent)
  • Dr. Phillip Blond (ResPublica)
  • Dom Antony Sutch (Downside)
  • Charlotte Vardy (Candle Conferences)
  • Mary Clarkson (Labour councillor, Catholic voices, Chair of Governors)
  • Andy Lewis (RE teacher, Head of Year, Brentwood Diocese)
  • Mr Stephen Tierney (Executive Director of MAT - Christ the King, St. Cuthbert's and St. Mary's Catholic academies) 
The event will commence at 10:00am, with lunch and refreshments provided throughout the day. All leftover funds from ticket prices will be donated to Mary's Meals.

Tickets available <here>

1 comment:

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